Can Alfalfa Survive a Fight Over Colorado River Water?

Dirt roads neatly bisect acres and acres of vibrant green plants here: short, dense alfalfa plants fed by the waters of the Colorado River, flowing by as a light brown stream through miles of narrow concrete ditches.

But on a nearby field, farmer Ronnie Leimgruber is abandoning those ditches, part of a system that has served farmers well for decades.

Opinion: Finding a New Path to Water Conservation for the Next Millennium, for California and the World

In the long sweep of human history, water has always played a central role in determining the geography of civilizations, and eons ago it influenced the migration of our early ancestors out of Africa and across the world. The ability to manage water contributed to the success or failure of empires along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers of the Middle East, the Indus in southern Asia, and the Yangtze in China. This First Age of water saw the earliest efforts to manipulate water with dams, aqueducts and intentional irrigation, and also the first water laws, institutions and water conflicts.

Feds Propose Cuts to California, Other States’ Water Supply From Colorado River

Southern California and the state as a whole could see dramatic reductions in allocations of Colorado River water under proposals released Tuesday by the federal government aimed at protecting a system that provides water to 40 million people in multiple states along with critical agricultural irrigation.

The river also provides hydroelectric power to millions of customers, generated by dams at Lake Mead and Lake Powell.